In writing a release, put the most important news up top. For example, if you are describing a garden club meeting at which someone spoke, put something about what the speaker said in the first sentence. (“A state entomologist told the Ridgefield Garden Club last week that an unusually large number of ants has been stealing nectar from the peonies this year….”) Don’t begin with the fact that the club had a meeting or who the hostesses were. Avoid dull beginnings.
Similarly, if the story is about the election of officers, tell who got picked president or chairman. (“Arthur Magdolinia of Cowslip Court, a member for 15 years, was elected president of the Georgetown Lions Club Tuesday, March 15.”) And include some biographical information about the leader.
Be concise. Try not to use any more words than absolutely necessary. Because of space limitations, we will usually edit longer stories.
Be accurate. Double-check such facts as dates, times, places, and the spelling of people’s names.
Check for completeness! Don’t forget to include a time, date, place, and publishable contact information for a coming event. Remember the five Ws: Who, what, where, when, and why.
Don’t address readers. In other words, don’t write “you can get more information by calling…” Make everything third person. “More information may be obtained from Joe Smith at 203-438-6544 or visit www.ourwebsite.com.”
Avoid opinions (unless quoted): Don’t say the food will be delicious, or the music “fantastic.” Those are opinions, not facts. However, you can quote someone offering opinions: “The gala will include a delicious dinner and a fantastic jazz band,” said club president Mary Littlelamb.
If you are doing publicity for a coming event, such as a church fair, a concert, or a play, send in the announcement as soon as possible. Generally, five weeks ahead is a good time to start submitting stories publicizing a public event. However, we ask that each story be submitted at least one week in advance of each publication date. If you are publicizing a coming event of general community interest, don’t forget to include a listing for the community calendar.
Remember to include your name, email and phone number so the editor can contact you if there’s a question.
***SAMPLE PRESS RELEASE***
Written by: Kathy Finklekitty
16 Mushroom Road, Crowtown, CT 06652
Daytime phone: 203-428-5944 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date submitted: April 1, 2008
Use: As soon as possible
Fresh plants, old books, and new activities are in store for visitors to the Harvest Fair, sponsored by St. Swithan’s Church, on Saturday, Nov.5.
The fair, the third annual fund-raiser for the church’s Mission Society, will be from 10 to 4 on the grounds of Pastafazool Park, Cuttlefish Road (Route 112), Crowtown. Admission is free.
Houseplants of many kinds, including cacti and African violets, will be sold, along with fruits and vegetables from the fall harvest: pumpkins, gourds, squashes, six varieties of apples, Indian corn, and pears.
A new feature of the fair will be rides for children, including a merry-go-round and a mini-Ferris wheel. Booths will sell used books, white elephants, kitchenwares, a variety of crafts, and children’s toys. The Mission Society members will also have a bake sale, featuring cakes, cookies, and seasonal pies.
The society will raffle a quilt on which members have been working for a year. Tickets costing $1 will be sold at the fair, and are available from members now.
Money raised from the fair will help support a village school, operated by Jesuit brothers in poverty-stricken Contanuega, Panama.
For more information on the fair or raffle or to donate books or used household items in good condition, call Betty Boop, chairman, at 203-428-7654 or visit www.stswithan.org.
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